With winter ending soon, I think it’s time we use valuable tips to avoid spring garden blues. Planting at the right time must be your top priority, and you can do this by knowing when the last spring frost will occur in your area.
Spring Garden: Avoiding The Frost For A Better Harvest
Most cool-season crops such as lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce can endure light frost and when sown a few weeks prior to the last spring frost, it will grow better. Others like spinach and peas are very cold-hardy and can be planted as soon as the ground is soft enough to be turned. But if the seeds of warm season crops such as squash, cucumber, and basil sprout too soon, they will die or severely stunted by frost. The same will occur for warm season transplants like peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. If you don’t want them to die of late frost, it is best to wait for the frost to pass.
Here are a few tips that might help you protect your garden from the late freeze:
1. Insulate Your Plants
Cover your plants through the whole night with a bed sheet or a burlap to protect them against the frost. Just in case you want to know, here are 20 plants you can grow this spring.
2. Keep The Weight Off Your Plants
If you have any tomato cages or coffee cans, lay them first around the plants before placing the insulation over top. The coffee cans or tomato cages will protect your plants from the weight of the burlap, while the burlap acts as an insulation against the freeze, allow the frost to settle on the cover instead of your plants.
3. Keep Your Plants Warm
Place a bucket of hot water beneath the cover around your plants overnight. Water releases heat slower than air so the bucket will maintain heat and help keep your plants warm.
4. Read The Instructions
Be sure to fully read the back of your seed packets to know the best time to plant a particular variety. Oftentimes, you will see the “Plant after all danger of frost has passed” reminder. That’s how to know which ones are good for planting or not.
5. Water Your Plants
Watering your plants the day before a freeze will also help. The water will heat up in the sun and the moist soil will keep the heat, which in turn, will help insulate the roots of your plant. Frozen ground will make water unavailable to your plants and could dry them out.
6. Don’t Use Plastic Sheeting
Avoid using plastic sheeting as it will trap condensation that could freeze and further damage your plants. If you’re wondering how to handle weed maintenance here are homemade weed killer hacks to improve your gardening DIY projects.
Additional Tip: Know Your Area
Do you want to know your area’s average last spring frost date? The map above will help to give you a good idea. However, the most accurate way is by checking the National Climatic Data Center website. Simply, locate your state and choose the closest city. This will show the dates on the last spring frost including the first fall dates. All the data will be based on what the National Climatic Data Center has collected from the location. You have the option between a range of dates that have a varying estimated percentage for a freeze.
Here’s a video on Spring Vegetable Gardening in April with Crazy Texas Weather posted by Brandon & Meredith:
Even armed with all of this information, you never can be fully sure you won’t get hit by the sudden cold snap. If you leave this article with nothing else, please remember that an “average last frost date” is just that, an Average. As the brutal cold front from last week showed us, this spring weather is unpredictable at best and vicious at it’s worst.
P.S. Make sure the seeds you plant are organic. “Garden variety” seeds may be harder to find than the GMO seeds, but it’s worth it. Not to mention you never know what the GMO crops could be doing to your body.
Want another great way to avoid garden blues? Build your own vertical garden, no yard needed! You can make your own vertical garden using this guide.
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in April 11, 2013 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.